Fossil fuel allowed us to expand beyond the boundaries of location, but it doesn’t and will not allow us to expand beyond the boundaries of the planet. Capitalism and global markets force us to compete with everyone, to constantly produce more, to constantly grow. Fossil fuel and capitalism has formed a very strong couple, fortified by human values expressed as individualism and consumerism. “Capitalism” as a socio-economic system is harmful and does more bad than good.
There is no more natural capital to freely exploit, and the returns on extracting resources from nature are dwindling. Also social capital is decreasing as a result of the values of capitalism. The path ahead is to only use what can constantly be generated and regenerated from nature. We need to strengthen those institutions and values that build social coherence. Those are community action, civil society and cooperation instead of competition. We will have markets and we will need a state also in the future, but the relative importance of those institutions need to be radically tilted.
I believe those two paragraphs in the most succinct way explain what my book
Garden Earth, from hunter and gatherers to global capitalism and thereafter,
is about. I sent the manuscript to proof-reading today.